On her good days, Braelynn Rochlin is a spunky toddler with lots of energy.
On the not-so-good days, it can be tough.
“It’s very surreal,” Kylen Gapinski, Braelynn’s mother said. “It still is surreal still going through it.”
Braelynn’s first seizure happened 36 hours after she was born, with another two hours later.
Doctors originally said the seizures would only last a couple months, but the 20-month-old has since been diagnosed with chronic epilepsy.
In January, it got worse.
“She started having seizures that are called status epilepticus,” Gapinski said. “What happens is you cannot stop seizing.”
Braelynn has since improved, but for months, emergency flights to Portland and visits from paramedics with the La Pine Rural Fire Protection District were necessary.
“The first bill that we owed was $25,000,” Gapinski said. “We’ve flown five times since then.”
It is a clear financial struggle for the La Pine family that stretches beyond those flights.
“It’s embarrassing,” Gapinski said. “It’s the shortage of rent that we can’t cover, it’s the electricity that we have to pay as we go.”
After seeing Braelynn’s seizures first-hand, the La Pine Rural Fire Protection District decided to help through, among other avenues, setting up a GoFundMe page.
“One flight alone is a life altering event for any family and they’ve had so many,” Matt Lachance, La Pine Rural Fire Protection District firefighter paramedic said. “It’s a really tough mountain to climb.”
Thousands have been raised so far for a family who never thought they would be in this situation.
“People need help, and we do,” Gapinski said. “We struggle, and so our family needs help.”
Doctors say Braelynn’s case is still a mystery, but her family still has hope.
You can support Braelynn and her family through GoFundMe here.